Christmas Time!

Tree up, stockings hung, nativity placed, Rudoff and Frosty on tv...now for the cookies and fudge!! Can't wait to have some down time with the Fam! Merry Christmas ALL...

Wow, it's been so long since I've posted...moving will do that!! We are enjoying the new place...still unpacking boxes, but hoping to get back into the swing of things soon.


6 months!

Well, we are moved in!

Anna's first picture in her NEW room :)

Boxes Everywhere!

Thankful for space to share with visiting relatives!

Bring on the Holidays...


5 months

We braved the cold weather for our last chance at some outdoor pictures. My friend Jen met us at a nearby park and took some family shots for us! Can't wait to hang them up in our new house! We had to be out of our old house on Halloween...so we moved into a small rental for a month until we can move into our new home.

I grabbed a box from the rental garage before we left...we thought this picture was so appropriate for this time in her life...we've been living amidst boxes for a long time...looking forward to unpacking for good!


Fall Festival...a.k.a...


My little Monsters!

Yes, I totally raided their CANDY stash!

Course it's not real hard for the boys to share when they DON'T like CHOCOLATE anyway!! 



4 months

Just LOVE experiencing being mom to a girl! I love having time just her and I while the boys are at school! She is a good sleeper and she is a pleasant and happy baby! I keep telling people when they comment about her surely being spoiled that it's really ME who is spoiled. I'm so thankful that I get to thoroughly enjoy the time with her - with grins and giggles and not fussing - though I guarantee that it does happen... even still I smile when it's hard and take the good days with the bad!! I just have a special appreciation for this precious girl we get to raise!

Thanks for praying us through "the valley of weeping to the place of refreshing springs"  -Ps 84:5-6


Cross Country

***WARNING*** Proud Mommy Moment***WARNING***

Tis the season...I was surprised last year to find that our schools offer a cross team. I can't say that Trent would ever have given this sport a shot in middle or high school with all the other sports he enjoys! With that in mind, I encouraged him to give it a try. Little did I know...he's got some wheels :)

Being that this was one of "my" sports back in the day, I've enjoyed going to the meets, scouting the courses, and cheering along the sidelines...and to our surprise Trent has been pretty successful!

His school ran in 3 meets this year.  He amazed me with his determination, even through the cramps. I enjoyed the races when I ran...but mind over matter was hard to conquer for me...Trent, however, set a goal and gave it everything he had - and sure enough it payed off for him. Here is some bling for his effort. His boys team came in first place in all 3 of the meets. His first meet about 600 kids ran 3rd-5th grade, so it's no small feat!


3 months

It has been fun to try and capture a good shot of her each month. I opened the front door to let in some light, set her on a bean bag, got down on my belly and caught this happy face!! Her cute bow a friend of mine made along with a dress up princess-super-hero-cape...can't wait to see her zooming around the house annoying chasing her brothers.

Packing and house showings are in full swing! We are excited to see what the Lord will provide...meanwhile I'm enjoying a clean house :)


Changed Much?!?

Last week I got out some of the newborn outfits Anna wore when we first brought her home.  Looking back at those pictures it looks like she had plenty of room to grow...but now...wow, she's busting out of them.

(and speaking of busting out - we are going to have to go up to the next size diapers - let's just say I've been using A LOT of spray 'n wash lately) #explosions

Bittersweet...she's growing and changing so much.  It's been so fun to interact with her - batting at toys and smiling back and cooing now - just makes me realize those newbie days are a memory. So glad for pictures!!

Here, see for yourself...


My Boys!

...Because I'm to cheap to pay $60 for school pictures...

I made the boys stand by our fence before they left for school...yes, on picture day.  BUT I don't think they turned out to bad :)


New School Year!!

I can hardly believe I have a 4th and 2nd grader!!  They are getting so grown up. I remember thinking how BIG and grown Trent was when he went into 2nd grade and now - with Drew - I just think he seems so young still.  It's a little weird for me to have a 4th grader...I remember sitting at my desk (as a 4th grade teacher), having deep conversations, answering some hard questions, learning, laughing, cheering on, but still reading to :) some pretty amazing kids.  I would dream about what MY life would be like when my own kids were that age.  NOW it's here and it's a bit surreal :)  Excited to see my boys continue to learn, grow, mature, and become good friends and leaders and athletes...but most importantly have a heart that desires God and His Word.

So, here's to another year...can't wait to see what's in store!


The Great

We had the chance to see my grandpa and step-grandma at the beginning of August.  They were visiting Ohio from Florida and so I took the kids on a short trek to meet up with them. He hadn't seen Annalise yet - and after all our losses and g-pa and g-ma's many prayers...it was an emotional introduction! This makes the 7th living great grandchild for them :)

2 months!

Can you tell she has grown just over 2 lbs and an inch in length?!? Annalise is beginning to coo and follows us with her eyes. She loves being talked to and we've discovered she has dimples when she smiles!! So cute.

I did a little photo shoot the evening before we left for vacation. I've seen some simple, yet beautiful pictures (yes, most likely on pinterest) of a newborn on a bed and so this was my humble attempt to capture OUR personal memories of places and spaces and sizes :)


One Month!

Can't believe it's been a month already! Time has flown and we are trying to take in every minute. We really understand the value of time after the last 6 or so years and 3 losses and I'm trying not to be too sad as we begin hitting new milestones.  We just love this girl to pieces. We are excited she is growing and thriving...just know this newborn phase is so short!

Emotionally we are doing well. Annalise is healing the hole in my heart that I never thought possible this side of heaven.  She will never replace Noah, Joanna, or Emilie. However, she has brought us some pure joy...you know that comes naturally without effort (the can't wipe the smile off my face kind), not the kind you have to choose and work at through the grief (cause that is real too)! I know the emotions will come as we hit milestones with Anna we missed out on with the other 3...but I know His grace will continue to meet us in those moments. We've actually caught ourselves more than once calling Anna, Emilie. This can throw me for a crazy, sad, teary loop...but in some ways I'm grateful for the tangible reminder and opportunity to choose to give Thanks in every circumstance! I'm working on it...

I took some pics outside yesterday :) It wasn't so hot and the natural light was nice. Although it was a bit tricky holding up the big golf umbrella (to avoid the shadows) and snapping the shutter at the same time!

So here are a few attempts from yesterday along with some photoshop fun today:)


Our Baby Girl!!

I thought I'd start something fun for me our family to look back and see how Anna has grown. I know she will change so fast! I wish time would slow down. I'll just do my best to soak in each day, each month, each stage.

Although I did a scrapbook for each of her brothers first year, I don't know if I'll be able to do that, so this is my feeble attempt at doing something creative for her. Each pic will keep track of her weight and height and then I add a couple words or phrases to describe her. Sound like fun? Ok, watch her grow with us...


A few peeks...

Here are just a couple pics of the adoring brothers and our sweet little bundle of Joy!

Little Footsies...Precious Wonder!

Can you believe she is Really HERE?!?

One Sweet Sista!

Love at First Sight!


Surprise..."Do you have a name?"

As Mike and I tried to come up with a name...I found it was going to be no small task!  I searched books and websites for ideas. I shared them with Mike and the response was always the same..."I don't really like that."  So when I suggested he come up with some ideas for me to critique...and he couldn't...we finally settled on one that we both thought was OK.  He said more than once, "I don't know what I like, I just know what I DON'T like."  So you can see I had a lot of help :)

The meaning of the name was a significant factor to me.  Many people suggested "Grace" but I wanted something not so obvious...though perhaps with that in the meaning.  I began to search and found that ANNALISE not only meant "graced with God's favor" but it also had special ties to her two sisters, Joanna Claire and Emilie Alyse. (click on their names to read the meanings behind their names)  I didn't think it'd be too creepy or too forced, though I really pondered whether it was the right choice...nope, this was indeed a unique AND special name - with a very special meaning to me...and I liked that we could shorten it to Anna as a cute little nickname.

It was at Mike's prompting that we go with her middle name...JOY.  It not only happens to be my middle name, but I thought it would be a wonderful reminder of the choice we have each day.  What do I want to be "known" for...what characteristics do I want my little girl to embrace and radiate as she lives her life?  YEP, Joy about sums it up!

I've been reading a book throughout this pregnancy that has helped me to be more aware of HIS gifts of Grace each day, to be Thankful for them - recording them or speaking them out load in praise and worship of His love for me...and oh, what Joy that can bring to my heart - no matter my circumstances!!  After all I agree with Joseph Campbell who says, "We cannot cure the world of sorrows but we can choose to live in joy."

I also came across this verse several times in the last few weeks...it is an encouragement to me as we seek to raise her up to know and love the Lord we have CLUNG to these last 5 years with all our hearts!

Annalise Joy remember that:

"The Lord your God is with you.  He is mighty to save.  He will take delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."   -Zephaniah 3:16-17



Can you believe I have been "silent" since February?

It's been hard to put everything out there...post all the dr visit updates...my feelings...

I've been doing some paper and pen journaling to record my thoughts this time instead.

Feeling a little more guarded.  Working on trusting the only One who is in Control...protecting myself, and you, from being so invested with all the details.

I know many of you have checked in several times over the last few months... and have found no new posts.

So today, I thought I'd share some of the pictures my friend, Kayte, from Legacy Portraits took a couple weeks ago.

It was one -on a short list- of baby steps I've been taking to "get excited" about nearing the end of my pregnancy and meeting this precious girl!!  I'm thankful for some sweet memories on a very sunny morning :)

Ok, just to clarify, I'm 35 weeks today.  The negotiating of Baby K's birthday has begun with my doc.  I know he will continue to gently push me to make it to 37+ weeks.  He'd like her to be about 6 lbs.  He said at my last appointment that waiting is like shuffleboard...we want to get as close to the edge without going over.  Of course, I've looked at the calendar - full of black ink and orange and yellow highlights- that show all the boy's baseball games, end of school, start of basketball camp, grad parties, family traveling in and available to take care of T & D etc... I think I know when would be ideal...we'll just have to see if baby and my doc and I can be patient enough to continue waiting for the best timing both physically and emotionally.

Meditating on some of these truths lately...

"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name." -Ps 33:20

"As for God, His way is blameless...He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock except our God." - Ps 18:30-31 

 "Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord."  -Ps 31:24

"This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it."  -Ps 118:24

 "For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb...And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."  -Ps 139:13-16
 {This is the little bear hat I made for Baby Koning...still working on the blanket to match.}

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  -Rom 15:13


Our Times in His Hands...

“But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand.” Ps 31:14-15a

Yep, that about SUMS IT UP!

His “Plan A” all along.


Haven’t had the eloquence of word flow lately, just processing lots in this crazy mixed-up head.












So when God throws a curve ball –a change up- across my home plate, when I completely expected the straight strike, I haven’t had much time to think…just swing…and trust that my training kicks in. I hope that in the training, I’ve conditioned my muscle’s memory, that my response is fluid, natural, involuntary.

We have been tested, sure.

How much is too much? Can my faith hold…again?








Lots of Prayer.

Back in October, Halloween to be exact, Mike and I learned some news that would stretch and grow us. We were surprised, scared, happy, confused, and needless to say emotional. I couldn’t believe it. The little stick read POSITIVE.

Could this REALLY be happening?

I was so confident so sure that our family was complete when I was expecting Emilie. People had told me “you will KNOW when you are done.”

And, while I was pregnant, I felt D-O-N-E!

But my heart began to change as I sat there on the hospital bed last April…holding the cold body of my baby girl…my beauty for ashes…

Could I be done? Could I be content with this? Was that it for our family?



I turned it over to the Lord. I couldn’t make that decision.

If it was His plan for our family to not have any more children, then He would close up my womb…shut me down…and I was OK with that.

(You See, from some comments we’ve gotten, our culture thinks WE control this, that Mike and I need a reminder from our doctor on how this baby thing “happens.” But, NO child is created apart from God’s Hand!! He is in complete control! It’s not just OUR trying, I have enough friends that try and try and still have empty arms. Ok, stepping down now…)

So, to our amazement, just 6 months after I sat on that hospital bed holding my precious Emilie, God began knitting together a new life in me. With each of our other pregnancies it took at least a year to get pregnant, so we weren’t exactly expecting this to happen…now… But, I have peace…PEACE in the fact that this is HIS PLAN, HIS TIMING.

I have not been overwhelmed with fear or worry. His Grace!!



Not that I don’t have days, but as I REMEMBER His faithfulness and goodness, I give my worries to Him and choose to TRUST. Choose to be thankful in the small. Choose to recognize his daily grace. Choose Joy.



Thankful His shoulders can bear much more than mine!

I’ve seen the doctor about 4 times with ultrasounds each visit. Everything continues to look perfect. Today was my 19 week visit. They took their time looking over every detail of our baby. Measuring…head, abdomen, femur…all 9 ounces of HER. Identifying parts of the brain, chambers of the heart, spine, kidneys, fingers and toes, and the umbilical cord’s 3 arteries/vein. Each precious part knit together as God Himself intended.

Our baby GIRL is wonderfully made.

Yes, just like each one of her siblings.

I swallowed hard -laying there- as the “baby girl” realization hits. “Everything looks perfect,” I hear them say. My mind races back to the moment I hear those same words while expecting Emilie, week after week up until week 37 when I see on the screen that her heart had stopped beating and after receiving the test results months after her body lay in the ground. No explanations…everything looked “perfect.” I thought to myself, “Really? One more detail I have to trust you with, Lord? But, but…I can deliver healthy boys?!”



But…I choose to TRUST again…

He already KNOWS the outcome…He’s with us each step of the way…

However, this trusting thing will be a constant battle of heart and mind, I’m sure…until she’s CRYING in my arms.

Trent and Drew are SO, SO excited! They bolted in the door after school and asked “Boy or Girl, Mom?” I get out the ultrasound pics and show them the black and white type “girl!” Drew said, “That’s what I’ve been praying!” Trent asks, “And she’s healthy?”


They just laugh with excitement!





We’ve been reading with them from The Jesus Story Book Bible. I just love the repetitive description of God’s love for us despite our doubting, our failing, our unbelief, no matter what, time after time, over and over again…God loves us with a “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”

Let’s all Trust Him…after all, All of our times are in His Hands.

“In [His] hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” –Job 12:10


Noah's Hope

This is what we include inside the photo book, so moms have an idea of how and why this ministry was started.

"Noah's Hope is a special ministry born out of heartbreaking loss.  Expecting their third son, in August 2006, Kristin and Mike went in for a routine doctor visit at 15 weeks.  What an ultrasound that day revealed would change their lives forever. The doctor told them that their baby, Noah, had a genetic syndrome incompatible with life.  The Konings were heartbroken, but trusted in the One who holds the future.  Their Wallen Baptist Church family rallied around them, supporting them in prayer. Noah defied the odds and the doctor's predictions and was born alive at 34 weeks. Mike and Kristin cherish the two hours they had to hold and love Noah here on earth.

In honor of what would have been Noah's first birthday some friends from church helped Kristin put together some special gifts to give to the hospital for other families experiencing the loss of a baby. This project in memory of Noah continued each year, and as the Wallen family embraced this ourtreach of love it grew into the ministry of Noah's Hope. The women of Wallen now meet several times each year to assemble hand-made photo memory goods. Each book is pieced, each page is glued, and each ribbon chosen with prayers for comfort and healing.

Witnessing the gift of time and creativity devoted to Noah's Hope from the Wallen family has been an encouragement to Mike and Kristin in their grief. It is their prayer that through Wallen, Noah's Hope can continue to offer comfort to families in our community experiencing the loss of a baby.  This small gift we give to affirm that each life is special, no matter how small. Our Wallen family cares for you in your loss too.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." -2 Corinthians 1:3-4